Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I shared my comedy videos so others could see what death looks like – and they liked it

If you were to post a video of your (possibly fake) funeral, Facebook users could see it for the first time, as one US Twitter user’s account is using the social network to share videos – and photos – of a similar kind

I started posting a lot of these videos in February after learning that most millennials don’t want to “be reminded that the life you were leading could have been a whole lot longer”, from 16-year-old Ruby Thorne’s comment on an Instagram photo to the social media age’s trustless, distanced acceptance of selfies and filtered photos of people passing away. When people died I was learning they had one parent, two parents, one parent, or even two parents; the social media response was either, “so sad” or, “what a beautiful party to celebrate their life”.

I contacted nearly every major death update app like Find My Friends and Moments and found nearly none of them had users actively sharing images and videos of their final moments. Then I found Chris O’Connell.

I reached out to @chriscollan via Twitter because I wanted to help him as someone who had lost someone close, and also because I thought I could help him. Instead, he ended up saving my life. I shared my #RIPOutlander series of my videos with his followers and we struck up a conversation. I was just sharing a comedy video I was working on for my YouTube channel when he posted “The Departed” for his followers. O’Connell told me he was thinking of my followers and his father, a Vietnam veteran, and told me, “I’m almost at the end of the line as far as my own mortality.”

During the conversation I learned that he had just undergone kidney surgery. Since then, he posted several more videos of himself, making death more engaging. He tried to normalize death. He said to one viewer, “My eyes are popping out of my head” while adding, “For all you ppl that are afraid of this, why not just go ahead and f— it and enjoy it instead of being scared of it?”

Why, O’Connell wondered, didn’t his followers do the same?

“We’re so connected to the internet and social media and face-to-face,” O’Connell said. “I was just posting it because I thought it would be a good tool for my community to have the opportunity to process and think about what death means.”

In short, he wanted his followers to share their last moments.

I am just one of the well-meaning people the website TrendingFingers got off my back. It’s received multiple tweets, and is also attracting tens of thousands of views.

If I could share with every millennial on your timeline what community advocate I am, at least I could have challenged the notion that death isn’t a natural, physical thing.

Latest article